26/02/2016

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy Sentenced To 18 Months For Tax Evasion

A former IRA commander has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion.

Thomas 'Slab' Murphy was sentenced at the Special Criminal Court in Dublin on Friday.

In December last year, Mr Murphy was convicted of nine charges of tax evasion.

Mr Murphy, 66, from Ballybinaby in Co Louth denied the charges.

In a statement via his solicitor, Mr Murphy said he maintains his innocence has instructed his legal team to "pursue an appeal immediately".

The Ulster Unionist Party's Justice spokesperson, Danny Kennedy MLA, has welcomed the sentence.

He said: "For many years Thomas Murphy was alleged to be one of the most senior and powerful figures within the Provisional IRA. Now there is a criminal conviction against his name and he will be required to serve a prison sentence.
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"Many people may feel that sentence is relatively light but it is welcome nonetheless, given the long-standing and widespread concerns about levels of criminality along the border, much of which involves the evasion of taxes and duty to be paid.

"Given the high profile nature of Thomas Murphy, many people will be hoping that his arrest, trial and conviction are a signal that the no-one is beyond the law and that the political will is now there to provide the police and justice systems on both sides of the border with the resources they require to instigate a meaningful crack down on criminality in the border area."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: "The support and acceptance of the independent judiciary is a keystone of democracy and the rule of law and all parties must accept today's sentencing from the court.

"It is not acceptable for some to seek to give Mr Murphy, a convicted criminal, political cover. It's also inaccurate to describe him as a 'good republican'. Depriving the Irish state of tax revenue to fund hospitals, schools or jobs is not a republican value. A good republican lives up to their obligations to others, they do not seek to evade their responsibilities in the pursuit of personal greed."

(CD/MH)

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